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If Climate Change is a Security Threat, Who’s Qualified to Fight It? Hint: Everyone

A recent piece in AlertNet raises some fair questions about the “securitisation of climate change,” including the dangers of fear-based sensationalist messages and the need for additional research into the links between climate change and violent conflict. It also goes on to make a debatable assertion about the risks of linking climate change to security  – one which assumes that framing climate change as a security issue risks overshadowing important social and environmental concerns. (more…)

War and Peace…and El Niño…and Climate Change

NOAA.A new study by M. Hsiang et al., covering the years 1950 – 2004, shows that conflicts are associated with the El Niño cycle. According to Hsiang and his colleagues, “the probability of new civil conflicts arising throughout the tropics doubles during El Niño years relative to La Niña years.” The authors do not claim that El Niño is the sole factor in determining civil conflict (poverty and governance are other key factors), but this is a significant finding. (more…)

Steiner’s Security Council Speech Stands Out

Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider A recent address by UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, at the UN Security Council debate on the impacts of climate change on  international peace and security, is a must read (or watch, if you prefer).  In the address, Steiner clearly defines the major pillars of the climate and security link.  The points raised in his address highlight the current peace and security implications of climate change, and chart a clear path for adequately addressing the risks. (more…)

UN Security Council Strengthens the Climate and Security Link (Sort Of)

By Patrick Gruban (originally posted to Flickr as UN Security Council)[CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOn July 20, 2011, for only the second time, the UN Security Council officially debated the peace and security implications of climate change. In the first such debate in 2007, climate change was added to the agenda by the UK, then Council president. The agenda was, however, thwarted by the Chinese and other nations wary of the potential for UNSC “mission creep.”  Roughly four years and billions of tons of CO2 emissions later, the Germans assumed the Council presidency, and decided to give it another go. The results were indeed better than last time, but not sufficient given the scale of the crisis. (more…)

Matching Resources to Security Risk: the Climate Change Anomaly

Our piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, written with Christine Parthemore of the Center  for a New American Security, addresses the discrepancy between U.S. financial and political capital spent on combating three security risks (WMDs, terrorism and economic crisis) and the financial and political capital spent on combating the security risk of climate change. It makes the point that the U.S. national security establishment has recognized the threat of climate change as comparable to other security risks, but U.S. policy-makers have not responded accordingly. See the full article here, and cross-posted below:

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